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Final Cut Pro X update paves the way for the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

Apple has updated Final Cut Pro X with a new Metal engine and other performance enhancements intended for the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, an update that hints at the upcoming availability of the modular Mac workstation.




Released on Monday, the update bringing Final Cut Pro X to version 10.4.7 has a new Metal-based processing engine for improved playback, as well as accelerating graphics tasks such as rendering, compositing, real-time effects and exports. The engine also includes support for multiple GPUs, the release notes advise, including the Radeon Pro Vega II and Radeon pro Vega II Duo, cards available for the upcoming Mac Pro.

The update includes support for up to 28 CPU cores, equalling the highest configuration possible with the Mac Pro, as well as support for the Afterburner card to accelerate ProRes and ProRes RAW playback. For GPUs, it is possible to select which internal or external GPU is used to accelerate graphics processing, so users can ensure the most powerful one is being employed by the software.

According to Apple, the switch to a Metal-based engine will mean users of the 15-inch MacBook Pro —the most popular system for Final Cut Pro users —will see performance gains of up to 20%, while iMac Pro users will see improvements of up to 35%.

There is also extensive support for the Pro Display XDR, Apple's high-quality screen it introduced alongside the Mac Pro. As well as using it as a display or reference monitor, there is also support for up to three Pro Display XDR units in the software, with two used for the Final Cut Pro interface and one for dedicated monitoring.

Apple has also included support for Sidecar in the update, a feature of macOS that enables an iPad to be used as a second display. Sidecar support in Final Cut Pro X is offered both for wired and wireless connections.

There are High Dynamic Range improvements as well, with enhanced color mask and range isolation tools for grading HDR footage, as well as the ability to view HDR video tone-mapped to compatible Standard Dynamic Range displays when used in macOS Catalina.

Apple issued updates for Logic Pro X in June, updating the audio workflow suite in preparation for the new Mac Pro's launch.

There are also updates to Final Cut Pro's companion apps, Motion 5.4.4 and Compressor 4.4.5, with each benefiting from the Metal-based render engine, multiple GPU and 28-core support, and the ability to use the Afterburner card.